Conscious Party: SuperHappy Telethon

OPERATORS ARE STANDING BY: The SuperHappy Productions team presents the inaugural SuperHappy Telethon, Jan. 19-20 at The Magnetic Theatre. Proceeds from ticket sales, as well as on-site and online donations, benefit Arms Around ASD. Photo by Myriah Wood, MCW Photography

WHAT: A two-day comedy/variety extravaganza to benefit Arms Around ASD

WHEN: Friday, Jan. 19, and Saturday, Jan. 20, 7:30-9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.-midnight each night

WHERE: The Magnetic Theatre, 375 Depot St.

WHY: After comedically sending up game shows with the SuperHappy Trivia Challenge and radio shows with the SuperHappy Radio Hour, parody specialists SuperHappy Productions go big with the inaugural SuperHappy Telethon.

The fundraiser is the brainchild of actress Carrie Kimbrell Kimzey, who’ll join her colleagues from the casts and crews of the established live monthly offerings Friday, Jan. 19, and Saturday, Jan. 20, at The Magnetic Theatre with a pair of two-hour blocks each night, none of which will feature the same content.

“We’re doing some of the best material we’ve put forward so far,” says Rodney Smith, a producer for SuperHappy Productions and the director of the Telethon. “We’ve been doing the show for a few years now, so we actually have a catalog of ‘best of’ material, plus some new material that we’ve written and a couple of radio sketches that are going to be turned into actual performance sketches onstage. Getting to revisit the best of our work and improve upon it is pretty exciting as well.”

Special guests include musicians The Last Wordbenders, Ethan Lewis, Ian Ridenhour and The Liquid Sirens, comedians James Harrod and Craig Holcombe, comedian/magician Chastain Chriswell, burlesque artists Deb Aunare and Zelda Holiday and performance poet Allan Wolf.

Unlike a typical telethon, video of the event won’t be broadcast live, but some sketches will be released as a series of YouTube videos later in the year. Selected segments will also be live-streamed online and much of it will be recorded and shared as a future podcast.

And while there won’t be a phone bank onstage, or a Jerry Lewis impersonator, a host will introduce the acts, and the audience will be provided updates on donations received for Arms Around ASD, whose good deeds will also be discussed during the show. In choosing a partner, Smith and his collaborators wanted to help out an organization in the medical services industry and one that doesn’t already receive substantial financial backing.

“Autism is one of those things that’s so pervasive. We all know somebody who’s autistic. A couple of people on the staff have been diagnosed on the spectrum as well, so we felt like that was something that was close to our hearts,” Smith says. “Arms Around ASD fit every check box of what we wanted in a beneficiary.”

The SuperHappy Telethon takes place Friday, Jan. 19, and Saturday, Jan. 20, 7:30-9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.-midnight each night at The Magnetic Theatre. $10 for each two-hour session, $15 full night, $20 weekend pass.

About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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